City installs 'no climb' fence under Spokane Street Viaduct

For months, crews have been clearing homeless people out of illegal or unsafe camps throughout Seattle. (Photo: KING)
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Under the Spokane Street viaduct, a worker installs a sharp spike strip along the top of a 10-foot wall of woven steel.

It's called a "no-climb" fence. The holes are too small for most fingers and feet, designed to keep trespassers out of the area. 

For months, crews have been clearing homeless people out of illegal or unsafe camps throughout Seattle. But the city has struggled with how to keep them out of those areas.

This fence looks like it could be the answer.

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"I don't like it," said Phil, a man who has been experiencing homelessness for several years. "I understand there are things going on that require fences. But out here, that's the only way we keep dry is under bridges."

We ran into Phil Thursday riding a bike near the viaduct. Last March, we interviewed him just before city crews forced him and others to leave the area under the raised roadway. 

An RV fire under the viaduct earlier this year reminded SDOT of the possible threats to the structure. 

On Thursday,  Meg Olberding, the spokesperson for the city's Human Services,  said the contractor will install the fencing in four areas under the viaduct, and possibly other areas if needed. 

Olberding did not know the price tag for the project but said because it was SDOT property, it would come out of the SDOT budget.

Phil made some wild guesses at the costs but questions if the money could be better used elsewhere.  

"I don't understand how the city can spend six million dollars on something stupid when they could have spent half of that on another shelter," he said.